The value of a news release is to help achieve organizational goals. News releases, when they form the basis of stories in the news columns of newspapers and magazines or are part of a TV news hour, create awareness about ideas, situations, services, and products. Another factor about news releases is they are cost effective.
The basic questions when planning a news releases are:
-What is the subject of the message? What is the specific focus of this release?
-Who is this message designed to reach?
-What is in it for this particular audience? What are the potential benefits and rewards?
-What goal is the organization pursuing? What’s the organization’s purpose?
-What do you want to achieve with the news release?
-What key messages should this news release highlight? How can they be tailored to the format of a specific publication and its readers?
Parts of a traditional news release consist of six basic components: (1) letterhead, (2) contacts, (3) headline, (4) dateline, (5) lead paragraph, (6) body of text. And also the seventh element, often included at the end of a news release, is a short summary of the orgaization. A fact to remember is that the lead is the most important part of any release. In one or three sentences, you must give the reader the basic details of the story or entice the reader to read the second paragraph.
-Remember that you can also write a news release in e-mail format. Some “Do’s” are:
-include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phases re-inforce your message
-place terms in key positions like headlines and first paragraphs
-distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape
-go link crazy. Too many links will confuse journalists and draw focus away from key messaging
-use low-resolution images. Opt for high-resolution multimedia that can be easily used by layout pros
-Use all tools, all the time. Focus first on the message. Use the bells and whistles to complement the campaign